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State announces $1.3 million in additional funds to distribute naloxone

Indiana reported a 33% increase in fatal overdoses in 2020, according to provisional data released in July by the CDC.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced Thursday the state will fund a $1.3 million distribution of the opioid reversal agent naloxone to ensure the medication reaches Hoosiers who are at risk of a drug overdose.

“Each dose of naloxone represents another life that could be saved and another opportunity to engage individuals with substance use disorder in treatment,” Gov. Holcomb said in the announcement. “The effects of COVID-19 continue to linger, and now more than ever we must make treatments like naloxone readily available to any Hoosier who may encounter an individual experiencing an overdose.”

Indiana reported a 33% increase in fatal overdoses in 2020, according to provisional data released in July by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Naloxone, commonly referenced as the name brand Narcan, is administered when a person is showing signs of opioid overdose. It blocks the toxic effects of the overdose and is often the difference between a patient living or dying.

Overdose Lifeline, Inc., an Indiana nonprofit dedicated to helping those affected by substance abuse, will distribute 35,000 doses of naloxone to first responders, families, friends and others who are likely to be first on the scene if someone overdoses. 

The organization also intends to purchase and place 215 additional NaloxBox units across the state and fund other harm reduction strategies. The boxes allow people to treat opioid overdoses and are likened to the role of automated external defibrillators in sudden cardiac arrest.

Funds were made available by the FSSA Division of Mental Health and Addiction’s state opioid response grant.

This is the state’s third investment in naloxone distribution since May 2020, when Gov. Holcomb announced a $1 million investment in 25,000 doses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in addition to the 28,200 doses of naloxone distributed by the Indiana Department of Health in 2020. In February 2021, Gov. Holcomb announced the state would partner with Overdose Lifeline, Inc. to place 215 NaloxBox units statewide.

First responders, families, caregivers and other individuals who would like to receive a supply of naloxone can register online at overdoselifeline.org. A list of resources around naloxone may be found at the Indiana Department of Health website at optin.in.gov.

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